BLACK VOICES
01/07/2014 06:02 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

4 Ways To Reduce Waste When Shopping

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc via Getty Images

Did you know that you are actually spending a lot of money on things that will eventually become trash?

By purchasing items that are disposable, over-packaged, or made of poor quality, you are actually turning your cash to trash! Think about it, if you shop smarter and incorporate better shopping techniques, you can avoid throwing your money away with the rest of your garbage. Yes, all packaging, including those disposable bottles and cans are included in the selling price.

Here are some clever ways to shop green and reduce your waste of goods and money:

Purchase items that are reusable, refillable, or recyclable/returnable
Rather than throwing items into your nearest land fills, invest in products that have reusable containers. Some examples of products you can replace are disposable bottles, disposable paper cups and plates etc. Invest in a reusable water bottle versus plastic water bottles. Buy spaghetti sauce in mason jars. Use reusable bags when shopping for all items, not just food. You can use your bags when clothing shopping as well.

Purchase items with the least amount of packaging
Bulk purchasing is your friend. Bulk items involve much less packaging and are cheaper too since you are not paying for the excess. Buying in bulk has some other residual benefits such as less trips to the supermarket, less energy wasted in the transport for both you and the manufacturer, and production of products.

Buy items that last
When shopping, ask yourself the following questions:

How long do you need the item?
Is the product reliable – should I invest a little more on something more reliable and longer lasting?
Can the product be upgraded or repaired?

These are all factors that should influence your purchasing decision. If you’re buying a pair of shoes that will only last you a few months, it may be a better option to choose an option that is better quality and will last much longer, even if it costs a little more.

Purchase the least hazardous detergents
Over time, using harsh detergents can make take their toll on your clothing, health, and the environment. Check labels for the key words caution, warning, danger, and poison.

Caution is the least hazardous and danger is the most. Poison means the product contains the most amounts of toxins. It is best if you stick to items that say caution.

Or start making your own detergents with cheap, non-toxic, and easily accessible ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemons for cleaning.

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